Leben und Tod is the latest collaboration between these two seminal photographers and is the culmination of their joint exhibition at artspace AM, Tokyo, in 2019. This intensely personal project concentrates on Teller’s series “Leben und Tod” (Life and Death), which reflects upon the death of his uncle and step-father Artur, juxtaposing photographs of his mother and homeland in Bubenreuth, Bavaria, with symbolic images of fertility and life on holiday in Bhutan with his partner Dovile Drizyte. Inspired by this series, Araki asked to photograph Teller’s “childhood memory objects,” items of particular emotional significance to him and his parents. Teller eagerly collected such personal gems, among them toys, a porcelain figurine and bridges made in the family’s violin workshop; the resulting images by Araki are haunting yet playful, creating an intriguing narrative alongside the original story.
This book embodies the deep affection and admiration between Araki and myself. At the gallery opening, he announced to the audience of journalists that I am like his son! I was overwhelmed with joy. – Juergen Teller